Holger Czukay, Jah Wobble, Jaki Liebezeit, "Where's The Money?"
Holger Czukay, Jah Wobble, Jaki Liebezeit, "Mystery R.P.S. (No. 8)"
Holger Czukay, Jah Wobble, Jaki Liebezeit, Full Circle
I should probably be working on my best-of list now or coming up with some eloquent words to close out 2016; instead I am going to start a new series of minor posts that emerge out of our recent look at those Nuphonic's Mancuso compilations, as it seems fitting to close the year out quietly, patiently. The thread originates with one of the standout tracks on the David Mancuso presents The Loft Volume Two, "How Much Are They?," a track that brought krautrock & kosmiche into the disco. Literally. It's the product of a European supergroup that featured 2/5 of Can (Holger Czukay & Jaki Liebezeit) and Public Image Limited's Jah Wobble. There is nothing better than connecting the dots and this is a damn good example of a Pound for Pound crossroads, as the experimental musicians of the 1970s who pushed rock to its cosmic limits turned their attention and efforts to doing the same for the dancefloor of the 1980s.
I figured that I would share the results of this one-time only collaboration between Czukay, Wobble and Liebezeit, as it's a rare release and an album that deserves attention beyond just Mancuso's favorite. With the heights these artists reached with their better known projects, it's understandable that this one slipped through the cracks. On the other hand, I am not sure why more of the Can and PiL fans haven't fallen in love with this merging of two of the most interesting "rock" groups ever. Originally released on vinyl in 1982 on Virgin, this version is the OOP, first CD edition from 1992. It features 6 tracks of music that pull from each of the participants' main projects, with an air of experiment to the proceedings with the extended jams, unexpected noises, dubby effects and vocal tics.
For me, the album's second track, "Where's The Money?," comes closest to capturing the mutant disco sound that captivated dancers at The Loft; it seems quite close to PiL's sound, bringing the angularity and dissonance of punk into dialogue with the groove of dance music. For me, it's all about Czukay's guitar strums, these little punctuation points that provide accents to Wobble's narcotic vocals and hypnotic bass. Not surprisingly, Jaki Liebziet's drumming holds it all together, providing this massive backdrop to everything else that goes down. The highlight of the whole album, though, might be "Mystery R.P.S. (Number 8)," an 8 and three quarter minute slow burning jam session. As Julian Cope describes it, "‘Mystery RPS (No.8)’ is one of the most strangely beautiful pieces of music. It’s like Stockhausen’s moment form, but with gorgeous, stoned, seductive sounds instead of spiky, confrontational noises. Beguiling is the word. ‘Can you feel the wind?’ indeed. Mmmmm…yum!" Yum indeed.
Let me close this out by wishing everyone a Happy New Year. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; ok, mostly the latter. However, I increasingly feel an excitement and energy as this new year comes in, particularly about music, sounds, art and their power. Thanks to all the artists, labels, writers, DJs and promoters who have restored my energy and provided me with this greatest gift of all, hope; I look forward to highlighting and engaging with their work more in 2017. I see exciting developments coming up here at Pound for Pound, as we build off of our first full year back writing.Thanks to everyone who has stopped by, read, downloaded, commented and clicked an ad. I look forward to continuing our conversation in the new year, both online and in the real world. Here's to a year of beautiful noise and revitalizing silence, to building the hacienda and activating more quiet places, to finding each other and ourselves. I love you all, see you in the new year.